-- We can throw out Jay Cutler's lost season with the Chicago Bears in 2016. Don't even watch it. Injuries, a new system and he played in only five games. But we only have to go back to 2015 to find a time when Cutler played extremely efficient football. With 3,659 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a completion percentage of 64.4, it was the one of the best full seasons of his career. And his coordinator that year? Current Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase, who spent only one season with the Bears.
Now Gase has convinced Cutler, who retired early this offseason, to join him in Miami after Ryan Tannehill went down with a knee injury. And if Cutler plays to the level he did in 2015, the Dolphins might not miss a beat.
Here's what Gase did during that season to maximize Cutler's strengths and cut down on the negatives. Plus, with the film, we can also get a look at how Cutler can make the Dolphins better right now.
Think of Jarvis Landry for the Dolphins on the quick inside drag route or using DeVante Parker. This is a third-and-short situation. But instead of asking Cutler to make a tight window throw, Gates uses formation and scheme (Hi-Lo Mesh) to create an open lane for Cutler. This is a simple toss. Just dump the ball to his receiver with plenty of room to produce after the catch.
Run-pass options (RPOs)
Cutler has the athleticism and the toughness to handle the football on these RPOs. And that creates a matchup advantage for the Dolphins when Cutler can read the end-man on the line of scrimmage, pull the rock and force the linebacker to attack downhill before tossing the screen. That's a modern day triple-option -- and we will see it this season.
Scripted deep ball shots
The Chiefs are a man-free/pressure defense. And Gase knew it. That's why he called for a deep 7 route (corner) route from a bunch formation. This allowed the receiver to break away from the defender's leverage --?with no help to the outside. This ball? It's a dime. And it's the type of throw Cutler can give to Kenny Stills when the Dolphins want to take a calculated deep shot.
Whether Cutler is under center or out of the gun (as we see here), he is very good at buying time on the edge and using a combination of velocity and touch to find open targets. Plus, this also puts Cutler in a situation in which he can pull the ball down and run. Lot of positives to featuring Cutler in Gase's system off play action and movement.
Creating favorable matchups
I really like that play call from Gase because he widened the defense to give Alshon Jeffery an inside matchup. With the running back flexed out wide, Jeffery now gets to work out of the slot. And Cutler absolutely rips this ball for the score. With the talent the Dolphins have at wide receiver, this is an area of the field where Cutler can play smart and productive football under Gase yet again.